Never give up your dreams. It’s a saying you’ve definitely heard before, and while some tasks might seem impossible as you get older, there are people all over the world who prove, time and again, that age is just a number.
No one embodies that spirit more than 103-year-old Julia Hawkins. And despite not taking up running until she was 100 years old, “Hurricane” continues to smash world records and make us all look and feel even lazier than usual.
Julia “Hurricane” Hawkins is a long-time Baton Rouge, Louisiana native who graduated from LSU in 1938 with a degree in teaching. After retiring, she took up biking for the first time at age 81 and went on to win two gold medals at the Senior Olympic Games.
Apparently, that wasn’t enough of a challenge.
The great grandmother and former teacher transitioned to running, where she continued to find success. Two years ago, she became the world record holder in the 100-meter dash for her age group with a blistering time of 39.62 seconds.
At the 2019 National Senior Games, Hurricane Hawkins set another track & field world record in the 50-meter dash, taking gold in both that event, as well as the 100 meters. She’s the oldest woman to ever compete on an American track.
“I’ve never trained before and I don?t have a trainer,” Hawkins said in a 2017 interview with Runner’s World. “Nearer to the time of the race, I will run every day and get myself in better shape, and I may ask some of my friends who also run for advice.”
Hawkins’ favorite way to train is out in the yard working at her Louisiana home. Hawkins says her acre of land with “50 kinds of trees” is the perfect way to stay healthy and loose. Her love for the outdoors also comes from her late husband, Murray Hawkins, who was the first Friends of Hilltop Arboretum Board President at Louisiana State University.
Earlier this year, the Julia Hawkins’ 103 Cherry Tree Jubilee was established as an annual event, celebrating the long-time arboretum supporter and helping raise money for the Julia Hawkins Beautification Fund.
“I call her a little old lady in tennis shoes,” Julia’s son, Lad Hawkins, told KRQE News in Albuquerque, New Mexico where this year’s event took place.
Who knows what’s next for “Hurricane.” But for her, maybe a new nickname is a good place to start.
“I like The Flower Lady better,” she said.